Is there a more urgent issue than climate change? The people of Ukraine and Gaza might argue otherwise, but taking the long view, climate change is it. An artist can take any number of approaches, from the conceptual to the representational and everything in between. Chantal Westby has chosen the sensual and immersive, creating a multimedia environment she calls “The Forest” with her collaborator Lénaïc Mercier. Among its elements are human forms, one covered in moss and seed pods, another gray and cracked, breathing through a face mask connected to a terrarium. These are speculative but opposite, and neither really bodes well for us: the former looks as we will if nature ever fully takes over, the latter if it doesn’t and we continue on our current path of world destruction. Surrounding these busts are beautiful landscapes done in the style of Japanese scrolls, with golden moons and towering vegetation, all rendered in fluid inky brushstrokes. Perhaps the Japanese masters had it right when they originated this style of artmaking, putting nature at the center and leaving people out of the composition entirely.
—Lori Waxman 10/15/2023 4:42 PM